139 Mile 1978 Ford F-250 Barn Find First Wash & Detail

February 04, 2022 3 min read

Hey everyone, this week at the AMMO Studio we have an incredibly special 1978 Ford F-250 Lariat with ONLY 139 miles. The guys at Firehouse Vintage found this rare example sitting in a barn in North Carolina and transported the F-250 ten hours North to the AMMO Studio. Parked in bay one, Justin and Chris walked me around the truck pointing out the original inspection sticker, wax pen still on the front radiator, and even the original owner’s temporary plate. I could see there was a pristine truck underneath the 44 years of untouched patina.  

Barn Find F250 Truck Detail

Step one, power wash the 40+ years of dust, spiderwebs, and cat prints off the truck. The powerful jet of water pushed the dirt right off the Crème paint but after the rinse I saw a lot of embedded contaminants in the finish. Next, we washed with Boost Anti-Salt and Foam Paint Cleanser for maximum lubrication. It was super cool washing a brand “new” truck from 1978 for the first time with AMMO products and tools. 

139 original miles f250 barn find detail

After using compressed air and microfiber towels to dry the F250, the embedded dust and junk in the paint was very evident. The single stage paint was soft and with an average paint reading of 2.5 mils, I approached the polishing stage with caution. Since the goal of the detail was preservation, I started with the least invasive paint correction methods. One method was to use the strong PH level of Titan 12 Degreaser to lift the embedded junk from the paint with the buffing of a microfiber towel. However, machine polishing was more efficient in this application, but I used the least aggressive pad and polish per the preservation mindset (Rupes White Pad & Polish).

Larry from AMMO NYC details barn find 1978 F250 truck 

Once I locked in on this polishing method, the Crème and Dark Brown Metallic Paint came back to life with ease. The before and after was very noticeable as once the oxidized dead paint was removed, like new single stage paint was revealed. Once I finished with the paint, I focused on the Ford’s metal trim and bumpers. The metal needed a little more elbow grease, so I switched to a yellow pad and polish to cut through the oxidation. After 5 hours of polishing, the F-250 looked amazing but most importantly, original. The careful polish had left the original “orange peel” and quality of the paint intact which is valued infinitely more on such a rare example.

Polishing metal and chrome trim on 1978 ford pickup 

With the Ford’s paint gleaming, we turned our attention to the opulent Lariat interior. Besides some dust and cobwebs, the interior was pristine… a true time capsule! The leather, fabric seat inserts, metal brightwork, and wood paneling was of a wonderful quality. The safe everyday formula of Lather Interior Cleanser was perfect for cleaning the leather and non-fabric surfaces with a microfiber towel. We followed up with a healthy dose of Mousse to condition and protect the supple brown leather. We finished with a quick vacuum and the interior was minty fresh with a warm natural leather smell. 

AMMO NYC Leather seat UV conditioner

Moving back to the exterior, it was time to clean under the hood except a pressure washer would’ve been overkill for this application. The valuable wax markers and date codes in the engine bay could be destroyed by water, so instead I used the AMMO US Steamer. Using my favorite sniper nozzle, I was able to target the necessary areas while keeping the delicate components free of unnecessary moisture. The steamer is an incredibly useful tool to have on hand especially for a specialized job such as this. 

Engine bay detail with AMMO Steam machine

Next, I worked on the glass with AMMO Obey, Razor Blade, Squeegee, and tons of towels. Glass always puts up a fight especially the oxidized panes on this F-250 so having some sacrificial towels to collect the residue is a must. With the glass finished, I focused on protecting the paint with Skin Defense Sealant which complimented the originality of this 1978 Ford. The benefit of a traditional sealant like Skin compared to a ceramic coating is it’s less “permanent” and can be removed without polishing. With the paint already on the thin side, the flexibility of a sealant like Skin seemed like the right choice for this uber rare low mileage truck.

AMMO Skin paint sealant on Barn find F250 truck

The final touch was to apply Mud Tire Gel to the original rubber and the Ford F-250 Lariat looked incredible. We pushed the truck outside and admired the clean design that truly looked brand new. It was a challenging detail balancing the pursuit of perfection with the preservation of originality, but the result is the cleanest low mileage Ford F-250 of this vintage in the world. Absolutely stunning! A big thank you to the gentlemen at Firehouse Vintage and stay tuned for more educational detailing content!

Larry of AMMO NYC after full disaster barn find detail of 1978 F250


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